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February 24, 2011

Stop Sarawak Timber Corruption – Freeze Taib assets now!


 

The Bruno Manser Fund  has launch an international campaign against the blatant corruption and abuse of public funds by Abdul Taib Mahmud, Chief Minister of the Malaysian state of Sarawak. A campaign website, http://www.stop-timber-corruption.org/petition, has go online since Friday, 18 February, and will be regularly updated and equipped with features for an interactive campaign with public participation.

Taib, one of South East Asia’s longest-serving politicians, has been in office since 1981 and is planning to celebrate his 30th anniversary in power on 26 March 2011. The 75-year old kleptocrat will stand as an incumbent for another five-year term of office in the upcoming Sarawak state elections, which are due to be held before July.

Taib has abused his public office to a frightening extent and has managed to convert the state of Sarawak into his family’s private estate. He simultaneously holds the offices of Chief Minister, and Finance Minister, as well as that of State Planning and Resources Minister, which gives him enormous political power. In addition, Malaysia’s “Barisan Nasional” coalition, which forms the federal government, is dependent on Taib’s support to remain in power. Sarawak’s largest private company, its electricity supply, large-scale logging interests and the control of log exports are also concentrated in the hands of the Taib family.

Since 1983, Taib and his immediate family members have started to transfer considerable parts of their ill-gotten assets overseas. The Bruno Manser Fund has established a black list with 49 Taib companies in eight countries worth hundreds of millions, if not billions, of dollars. The list will be published next week, and the authorities of these countries will be asked to freeze all Taib assets and to launch criminal investigations against the Taib family.

In Sarawak, corruption has proved to be one of the main drivers of deforestation. While most of the state’s forests have been logged or converted into plantations over the last three decades, Sarawak’s indigenous communities have seen little, if any, benefit from Taib’s so-called politics of development. Poverty, illiteracy and a lack of basic infrastructure are omnipresent in rural Sarawak.

Sarawak’s numerous indigenous communities, and particularly the Penan, have struggled since the 1980s against destructive logging and have fought for their land rights but, in most cases, they have been outmanoeuvred and cheated by Taib and his cronies.

For 30 years, Abdul Taib Mahmud has been Chief Minister of the Malaysian state of Sarawak. Taib has abused his power in a spectacular way and has transferred the massive proceeds of corruption and illegal logging overseas. He and his family members own numerous companies in Australia, Canada, Hong Kong, Malaysia, the UK, the US and other countries.

Help us to build up international political pressure against the corrupt Taib family and sign the online petition!

Your e-mail will be sent to the authorities in Australia, the British Virgin Islands, Canada, Hong Kong, Jersey, Malaysia, the United Kingdom and the United States of America as well as to the Asia Pacific Group on Money Laundering.

Sign our online petition nowBookmark this page for more updates – Stop Timber Corruption

February 6, 2011

Nomadic Penan leader Along Sega has passed away


Taken from Baru Bian.net

It is with great sadness that we have to inform you that Along Sega, the iconic paramount leader of the last nomadic Penan group in the Upper Limbang region of Sarawak, Malaysia, has passed away yesterday, 2 February 2011, at 5 p.m. local time at Limbang hospital. Along was in his 70s and leaves behind his wife Yut and a number of children and grandchildren. While the exact cause of his death remains unknown, we have been informed that he had being suffering from strong pains in his legs during the last weeks.

Along Sega became world famous as an outspoken leader and spokesperson for the Penan’s struggle against the logging companies that started encroaching into the Borneo rainforest in the 1980s. Along Sega also had the role as a mentor and adoptive father to Swiss environmentalist Bruno Manser who spent several years living with Along’s group in the Adang and Limbang river region in the late 1980s. Along and his group’s struggle was featured in documentaries such as Tong Tana, Blowpipes against Bulldozers, Lakei Penan and The Last Nomads of Borneo. Having been born as a member of one of the last groups of nomadic hunter-gatherers, Along decided to become sedentary near Long Adang in Upper Limbang in the early 2000s, mainly because the Penan’s forests had been depleted by logging.

It was bitter for Along to realize that the Sarawak government never showed any respect for the nomadic Penan’s unique lifestyle and heritage and that all promises given to them by the Malaysian authorities in the 1980s were subsequently broken. In a 2005 interview with the Bruno Manser Fund, Along said that life had become very difficult for the Penan due to logging and he also talked about intimidation by loggers (see interview in the attachment). He also said that the Chief Minister’s promise to preserve an intact jungle area for the Penan was “all lies” and “nonsense” and had never been realized. Asked about the ongoing struggle for the conservation of the rainforest and the Penan’s land rights, he said that he was trying to teach the younger generation how to lead the struggle for the Penan rights: “When I die, they will continue our struggle because I asked them not to give up.”

Please find a few pictures and a copy of the 2005 interview with Along below.

Picture 1: Along Sega in 1986 with a “seperut” stick which is used by the Penan as both an ornament and talisman

Picture 2: Along Sega (centre) in 1996 with Bruno Manser

Picture 3: Along Sega in 2005 with a satellite image map of his logged forest

Picture 4: The last picture of Penan paramount leader Along Sega with his group at Long Gita, Upper Limbang, in November 2010

Copyright of all pictures: Bruno Manser Fund.

Interview with Nomadic Penan headman Along Sega, 8 July 2005

Bruno Manser Fonds: Along Sega, how old are you?

Along Sega: I don’t know exactly because my birth date is not recorded. But I am certainly older than 60 years now.

BMF: Where were you born?

Along Sega: I was born at Ba Ureu, close to Ba Nyakit where we are mostly staying now. My parents used to stay in the area for a long time before I was born, for at least one generation.

BMF: Could you please describe us some of your childhood memories.

Along Sega: I remember that I first learned from my father when I was still a young boy. I took a stick and used it like a spear. When I was first able to hit a target, I was good enough for hunting. My father made a first blowpipe for me out of a bamboo with which I practiced. He says I was a good hunter. When I started to hit the target, my father asked me to hunt the birds around our camp with the blowpipe. Then he gave me a spear to hunt. Later on, my father taught me how to process the sago. In the beginning, I could only process one sago tree. Later on, I could process two.

BMF: How many were you in your group?

Along Sega: I was born as the youngest one of 6 brothers and sisters. There was my eldest brother Aya, my second brother Medok, my third brother Nyagung and my fourth brother Luau. All of them have passed away already. The only ones still alive are my sister Tioung, who lives at Long Adang, and I.

BMF: When did you first meet anyone from outside your group?

Along Sega: The first white man I met was Tuan Seripen (=Tuan Beripin), the then Marudi District Officer. There was also a man who looked for Sedin Perait, the resin/glue.

(more…)

August 19, 2010

Penan:Tribe in Transition


 

Documentary by veteran journalist James Ritchie about the Penan, the nomadic tribe of living in Sarawak on the island of Borneo and how their children are given education to enable them to survive in the modern world

Penan: Tribe in Transition Prt.1

Penan: Tribe in Transition Prt.2

Penan: Tribe in Transition Prt.3

Penan: Tribe in Transition Prt.4

Penan: Tribe in Transition Prt.5

Penan: Tribe in Transition Prt.6

Penan: Tribe in Transition Prt.7

December 28, 2009

Hutan Sarawak yang kian menghilang

Filed under: Logging — Pengayau @ 8:00 am
Tags: , ,

Taken from http://sebanamenoa.blogspot.com/

PENANG, Malaysia,(IPS) – Sudah sekian lama, para aktivis alam sekitar dan pejuang hak Orang Asal percaya bahawa hutan belantara yang luas di negeri Sarawak dibalak dengan rakus dan hutan tersebut kini beralih menjadi ladang-ladang kayu akasia dan kelapa sawit, empangan hidro elektrik dan hutan belukar. Malangnya, tidak semua orang mengambil kisah.

 
 Pendirian para aktivis tersebut kini telah disahkan apabila di dalam Laporan Tahunan Audit 2008, yang dikeluarkan oleh Jabatan Audit Negara dan diserahkan ke Parlimen, Ketua Audit Negara telah mengkritik pengurusan hutan di negeri Sarawak sebagai tidak “memuaskan”. Pada awal bulan ini, pihak berkuasa Sarawak pula menolak penemuan Ketua Audit Negara.
Laporan tersebut telah menyenaraikan beberapa penemuan untuk sampai ke kesimpulan tersebut: kawasan hutan simpan kekal semakin berkurangan dan tidak ada kawasan baru untuk mengantikan kawasan hutan tersebut, manakala terdapat beberapa usul untuk mewartakan kawasan hutan simpan pula belum dilaksanakan. Terdapat juga penemuan di mana pemegang lesen balak tidak diwajibkan untuk mendapat laporan taksiran impak alam sekitar (EIA) yang telah diluluskan sebelum memulakan kerja-kerja mereka. Catuan penebangan tahunan pula melebihi hadnya jika semua kawasan hutan diambil kira.
Laporan tersebut juga menyatakan bahawa penguatkuasaan dan pemantauan yang lemah telah menyebabkan terjadinya pembalakan haram yang menyumbang pula kepada kemusnahan alam sekitar, terutamanya pencemaran sungai-sungai, hakisan tanah dan kejadian tanah runtuh, mendapan lumpur dan banjir.
Menteri Kedua Perancangan dan Pengurusan Sumber Sarawak, Awang Tengah Ali Hassan (Menteri Pertama ialah Ketua Menteri Sarawak, Taib Mahmud) telah menyatakan ketidakpuasan hatinya kepada laporan tersebut. Beliau berkata laporan tersebut tidak mencerminkan situasi keseluruhannya kerana para juruaudit tersebut membuat kesimpulan-kesimpulan yang rambang mengenai pengurusan jangka panjang hutan di Sarawak oleh kerajaan negeri.”
Dengan mendapatkan tindakbalas dari Jabatan Hutan Sarawak, saya percaya pandangan yang seimbang dan tepat (mengenai pengurusan hutan oleh kerajaan negeri) dapat dilaporkan di dalam laporan tersebut,” kata beliau di dalam laporan agensi berita nasional, Bernama.
Awang Tengah pula mengatakan bahawa Jabatan Audit Negara tidak mempunyai kepakaran di dalam pengurusan hutan, dan maklumat-maklumat yang diberi dari Jabatan Hutan Sarawak tidak diambil kira di dalam laporan audit tersebut. Beliau berkata, Ketua Audit Negara telah menulis kepadanya pada 29 Oktober dan bersetuju untuk mengambil kira tindakbalas dari Jabatan Hutan.
Apabila dihubungi, seorang jurucakap dari Jabatan Audit Negara di Putrajaya pula berkata perkara tersebut sudah “selesai” – jabatan tersebut akan menerima komen-komen dari pihak-pihak berkuasa di Sarawak akan tetapi laporan Ketua Audit Negara masih sah.
Para pegawai tinggi di Kementerian Perancangan dan Pengurusan Sumber Sarawak dan Jabatan Hutan Sarawak tidak dapat dihubungi melalui telefon untuk mendapatkan komen pada masa ini.
Sarawak mempunyai hutan seluas 12.44 juta hektar di dalam keluasan tanahnya yang seluas 124,450 kilometer persegi, di mana 4.6 juta hektar adalah hutan simpan kekal, 0.88 juta hektar hutan lindungan sepenuhnya dan 4.3 juta hektar pula adalah hutan milik kerajaan, manakala baki kawasan tersebut digunakan untuk penempatan, bandar dan kawasan pertanian.
Pada awal tahun ini, kerajaan negeri telah mengumumkan sasaran untuk menetapkan enam juta hektar untuk hutan simpan kekal dan sejuta hektar untuk hutan lindungan sepenuhnya yang terdiri daripada taman-taman negara, kawasan perlindungan binatang liar dan hutan simpan asli. Pengumuman tersebut telah dijelaskan sebagai “testimoni jelas komitmen kerajaan negeri kepada pengurusan hutan secara mapan.”
Kerajaan negeri Sarawak juga telah mengumumkan penubuhan Kawasan Pemuliharaan Antara Negara yang terdiri dari kawasan taman negara dan kawasan perlindungan binatang liar dengan Indonesia dan Brunei.
Kerajaan negeri telah menandatangani 33 perjanjian antarabangsa yang berkaitan dengan hutan Konvensyen mengenai Kepelbagaian Biologi, Protokol Kyoto, Konvensyen mengenai Perdangangan Antarabangsa Spesis-Spesis Flora dan Fauna Liar yang Terancam dan Perjanjian ASEAN mengenai Pemuliharaan Sumber-Sumber Asli dan Alam Semulajadi.
Tetapi, Raymond Abin, penyelaras Jaringan Pemuliharaan Bertindak Sarawak – sebuah jaringan kumpulan-kumpulan pejuang alam sekitar dan hak Orang Asal di Sarawak – masih tidak percaya.
Pembalakan merupakan bines terbesar di Sarawak: Sarawak merupakan pengekspot terbesar kayu keras tropika di dunia. Tambahan pula, konsesi-konsesi balak selalunya diberi kepada pihak-pihak yang mempunyai pertalian rapat dengan para pemimpin di Sarawak. Kelapa sawit juga merupakan sebuah lagi sumber pendapatan yang besar untuk Sarawak.
“Kita tidak perlu pergi jauh untuk melihat apa yang berlaku terhadap sungai-sungai kita di Sarawak, semuanya berlumpur. Jika anda menaiki pesawat dan terbang dari satu penjuru negeri ini ke penjuru yang seterusnya, anda boleh melihat banyak kawasan-kawasan hutan sudah dibalak,” kata Raymond.
Dari kesemua usaha kerajaan negeri Sarawak, laporan Ketua Audit Negara melaporkan bahawa 139,680 hektar hutan simpan kekal musnah dari tahun 2003 dan 2005, di mana 18,322 hektar pula musnah dari tahun 2006-2008. Dari tahun 1990 dan 2008, hampir sejuta hektar hutan simpan kekal telah musnah, dengan hanya 4.6 juta hektar yang masih tinggal.
Laporan tersebut menyatakan pengumuman sasaran kerajaan negeri untuk mengekalkan enam juta hektar hutan simpan kekal, tetapi tiada pentunjuk yang menyatakan bila sasaran ini akan menjadi rasmi.
Para juruaudit menemui bahawa “aktiviti pembalakan yang berhampiran dengan sungai-sungai merupakan faktor utama kemerosotan air jernih, jumlah pepejal yang terapung dan tahap oksigen yang terlarut” di sungai-sungai utama di Sarawak. “
Ini bukan sahaja mencemarkan sumber-sumber air, ia memerlukan kos yang tinggi untuk dibaik pulih.” Sememangnya, Sungai Rejang (di kawasan Sibu, Sarikei dan Kapit), Sungai Kemena (Bintulu), Sungai Baram (Miri), Sungai Limbang (Limbang) dan Sungai Trusan Lawas (Limbang) telah melebihi piawaian pencemaran air.
Raymond menambah bahawa masyarakat Orang Asal boleh melihat apa yang sedang berlaku di persekitaran mereka. “Anda tidak perlu menjadi seorang pakar: masyarakat Orang Asal yang telah lama tinggal di dalam hutan atau memerlukan air bersih untuk kehidupan mereka – cara hidup mereka semakin lama akan hancur akibat daripada pembalakan.”
Para juruaudit menunjukkan bahawa terdapat banyak mendapan di kuala Sungai Seduan dan Sungai Igan di Sibu iaitu “seluas sebuah padang bola sepak,” dan disebabkan ini banjir sering berlaku di kawasan Sibu terutamanya pada waktu hujan lebat. Menurut rekod banjir, Sibu merekodkan banjir sedalam 0.9 meter pada tahun 1997 dan naik ke 1.5 meter pada tahun 2007. Pada bulan Disember 2008, Sibu mengalami banjir yang paling teruk sejak dari tahun 1963. 350,000 hektar kawasan hutan simpan kekal di Bahagian Sibu di Sarawak telah musnah di antara tahun 1990 dan 2008, menurut laporan para juruaudit.
Mereka juga menyatakan beberapa laporan akhbar yang menyatakan pada awal tahun ini aktiviti-aktiviti pembalakan di Bakun yang melebihi 40,000 hektar telah menyebabkan pencemaran dan mendapan yang teruk di kuala Sungai Balui.
Undang-undang memerlukan laporan EIA disediakan untuk setiap lesen pembalakan di kawasan yang melebihi 500 hektar sebelum kerja-kerja membalak boleh bermula. Akan tetapi apabila sebuah sampel 30 permit untuk kawasan melebihi 500 hektar dikaji, para juruaudit tidak dapat mengesahkan jika laporan EIA telah disediakan sebelum kerja-kerja membalak bermula. Mereka juga tidak menemui mana-mana laporan EIA yang memberi kebenaran untuk membalak berkaitan dengan permit tersebut.
Pemantauan dari udara mendapati bahawa pembalakan di beberapa kawasan pembalakan dilakukan di cerun-cerun bukit yang melebihi 45 darjah, had kecerunan yang dibenarkan untuk membalak dan di kawasan yang berhampiran dengan sungai.
Para juruaudit memberi amaran bahawa kekayaan kepelbagaian biologi Sarawak akan beransur musnah akibat daripada aktiviti-aktiviti pembalakan. Mereka mengesa agar spesis flora dan fauna direkod sepenuhnya supaya kerja-kerja pemuliharaan boleh dilaksanakan dengan betul untuk spesis-spesis yang terancam.
Salah satu masalah ialah penguatkuasaan yang lemah dan renjer-rejer hutan tidak mencukupi, kata Awang Tengah pula adalah “episod lama” di mana tindakan untuk memperbaiki telah pun dilaksanakan.
Tetapi Raymond menyangkal dakwaan tersebut dan mengatakan bahawa orang ramai takut diugut dan inilah sebabnya mengapa mereka tidak berani untuk membuat aduan. “Mereka tidak boleh nafi bahawa terdapat banyak aktiviti-aktiviti pembalakan. Masalah tersebut berpunca dari pihak berkuasa, mereka yang mempunyai kuasa untuk membuat perubahan, dan juga kerana kekurangan penguatkuasaan.”
Dipetik dari: Anilnetto.com
Diterjemah untuk: Sebana Menoa

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